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An Evolutionary Model for New Religious Movements

By Aidan Kelly

I proposed a few days ago that all religions begin as new religions. Let’s look at more details about how that happens.

Many people suspect that any new religious movement (NRM) is probably antisocial in some way, or that the very existence of a NRM is evidence of some sort of social pathology. This tendency often results from assuming a “Golden Age” model of religion: once upon a time God or the Gods handed down the perfect religion to mankind, and everything has been downhill ever since. In this sort of Platonic model, perfection is changelessness; hence any change must be away from the original perfection. Obviously, a NRM is a change, and so it must be for the worse.

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